After posting about Hoffman’s it occurred to me that another local classic is Adirondack Animal Land. About 45 minutes away from the Capital District, it’s absolutely worth the trip.
Adirondack Animal Land is a smallish zoo, but it’s perfect for a day trip: just exactly manageable, in my opinion. Just when my kids were about to spontaneously combust, it would be time to eat or take a ride, and they’d recover. If you’re in doubt, do bring a stroller.
Beyond just seeing the animals (and they have a helpful list with photos, by the way), there are pony rides and a petting zoo as well as a playground and a “Western Town” that is pretty bare bones, but plenty fun for kids. There’s quite a bit of shade and there are picnic tables. We always pack a lunch, and it’s great that they welcome brought-in food, unlike many family entertainment places.
I’ll admit that I find zoos mildly depressing, and much of the Animal Land is “old school”, with animals in not-super-comfortable-looking cages, reminiscent of that Nick Park Creature Comforts short–if you haven’t ever seen it, it’s worth a look. Once we visited, and I swear, there were some sort of baby animals that were so small compared to the cage that some of them could hop right out–does anyone remember that visit? On the other hand, after a couple of visits to Animal Land, we’d go to other zoos that had more space and authentic environments, like, say, the National Zoo in D.C., and we were wandering around thinking, plenty of trees, but where the heck are the animals? It’s absolutely easier to keep the kids engaged when they can get a good look.
We generally save the Safari Ride for the end of our visit to the zoo–a chance to sit down and relax after all of that walking. My expectations were low on the first visit, but we all thought it was surprisingly fun.
Adults are $13.75, kids 12 months-12 years are $10.75, and there are printable coupons on the website. They only accept cash. I’ll admit that I haven’t been there in a while, so if anyone’s visited this summer and has news or updates, I’d love to hear them! Comment it up, please.